Friday night topic: The Da Vinci Code

The movie is out, to brutal reviews, and the controversy is picking up steam. I read The Da Vinci Code on a flight recently. Seemed like a serviceable thriller, but too similar to Dan Brown's prior Angels & Demons to be worth reading, er, again. (Same book, different mystery.) At the core of the book is the ongoing "discovery" of a bunch of religious conspiracy stuff about Jesus having a child with Mary Magdelene and the Catholic church conducting a millenias-long cover-up of this fact. That part came across as ideologically driven, flawed, and kind of goofy to me—but then I have two religion degrees. We may not know everything with perfect historical clarity about the life of Jesus and early Christianity, but what we do know contradicts many of the claims in the book—or at least undermines their validity, given the likely dating of various texts. Still, lots of folks appear to be taken with it. Why do you think that is? What do you make of the book's claims? Discuss.
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